The Significance of Intersectionality in Mental Health-Care Policy in South Africa
South Africa has progressive policies, which were generated to rectify the effects of apartheid and promote social justice. The National Mental Health Policy Framework and Strategic Plan 2013–2020 (Republic of South Africa, National Mental Health Policy Framework and Strategic Plan 2013–2020, n.d.) allows for a much-needed focus on mental health care. In the multicultural South African society, attention is required at the various levels oppression is experienced. However, research on disability, race, gender and mental health is limited in South Africa. The impact of scarce evidence on mental health outcomes and multiple identities is that a fragmented understanding of mental disorders exists and, subsequently, policies are not able to propose adequate interventions. In this chapter, an analysis of the South African National Income Dynamics Study (NIDS; SALDRU, National Income Dynamics Study 2010–2011, 2015) revealed that gender, disability status and race of an individual intersect to result in negative mental health outcomes for Black African women with disabilities. These results show that policy would benefit if it considered identities that impact on mental health outcomes. From the perspective of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs; United Nations, Resolution Adopted by the General Assembly on 25 September 2015, Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, 2015), it is important that data presented be disaggregated in meaningful ways for policy, planning and implementation to ensure that social justice is achievable for all citizens.
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